Unibet Home Tour 28: Humphries Excels As Smith Falters.

Luke Humphries won all three games in style on Night 28 of the Unibet Home Tour to ensure his progression to the Last 32.

Bullyboy had to accept second place in group 28. (PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG) MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

The reigning World Youth Champion put in some stunning displays, averaging 102.4 for the evening as he swept aside Michael Smith, Andy Boulton and Mike van Duivenbode.

Humphries started the evening by averaging 100 in a narrow 5-4 victory over Boulton in his opening game, but his best was yet to come.

The 24-year-old then posted an incredible 108.5 as he destroyed top-seed Michael Smith 5-2 to put himself in a commanding position going into his final game.

And his progression to the Last 32 was completed with a hard-fought 5-3 over Dutch youngster Van Duivenbode to put him on six points and out of the grasp of his competitors.

Smith had started the night with a thumping whitewash victory over Van Duivenbode, but after defeat to Humphries he could only muster second place by beating Boulton 5-2 in the final game of the night. 

The Unibet Home Tour continues on Friday with Group 29 and can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.

PDC Home Tour

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 28 – Thursday May 14 (1930 BST)
Michael Smith 5-0 Mike van Duivenbode
Luke Humphries 5-4 Andy Boulton
Mike van Duivenbode 4-5 Andy Boulton
Michael Smith 2-5 Luke Humphries
Luke Humphries 5-3 Mike van Duivenbode
Andy Boulton 2-5 Michael Smith


Featured Pic – L Lustig/PDC.

Unibet Home Tour: Line-ups & Fixtures Revealed.

Michael Smith and Steve Beaton will be among the players returning to Unibet Home Tour action this week, with the line-ups & fixtures confirmed for Groups 26-28 from May 12-14.

Beaton will return, to the Home Tour, for a third time.

With almost all of the 101 Tour Card Holders who registered an interest in taking part in the Unibet Home Tour having played across the opening 24 nights, the remaining groups will mainly be filled with previous group runners-up.

World number five Smith will make his second Unibet Home Tour appearance in Thursday’s Group 28, while experienced Beaton will get his second chance in Group 27 on Wednesday.
 
Tuesday will see the 26th of 32 consecutive nights of live darts take place, as former ProTour event winner Steve Brown returns along with Belgian youngster Mike De Decker.

Wigan’s Martin Atkins will also take part in Group 26, while Conan Whitehead receives a second invitation after seeing his Group 12 campaign affected due to technical difficulties for Keegan Brown.

Beaton headlines Wednesday’s Group 27, which will also feature former Grand Slam of Darts winner and double Lakeside Champion Scott Waites, 2019 UK Open quarter-finalist Ross Smith and Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp.

Premier League star Michael Smith will star in Group 28 on Thursday, with reigning World Youth Champion Luke Humphries also in action alongside emerging Dutch talent Mike van Duivenbode and experienced campaigner Andy Boulton.

Places in Groups 26-32 for previous group runners-up are being allocated based on PDC Order of Merit position, with higher-placed players being given the first option to compete for a second time. The players for Groups 29-32 will be confirmed in due course.

Any player who will be participating but is yet to do so is solely down to scheduling reasons.

The nightly league format sees all four competitors play each other once in matches played over the best of nine legs, with a winner crowned each night.

Each night’s action will commence at 1930 BST, with darts commentator Dan Dawson on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.

All Unibet Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Fans in Great Britain and Ireland can also watch the action through the Sky Sports app.

As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour is being broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners.

Unibet Home Tour
Group 26 Fixtures
Tuesday May 12
Conan Whitehead v Steve Brown
Mike De Decker v Martin Atkins
Steve Brown v Martin Atkins
Conan Whitehead v Mike De Decker
Mike De Decker v Steve Brown
Martin Atkins v Conan Whitehead

Group 27 Fixtures
Wednesday May 13
Steve Beaton v Scott Waites
Ross Smith v Ron Meulenkamp
Scott Waites v Ron Meulenkamp
Steve Beaton v Ross Smith
Ross Smith v Scott Waites
Ron Meulenkamp v Steve Beaton

Group 28 Fixtures
Thursday May 14
Michael Smith v Mike van Duivenbode
Luke Humphries v Andy Boulton
Mike van Duivenbode v Andy Boulton
Michael Smith v Luke Humphries
Luke Humphries v Mike van Duivenbode
Andy Boulton v Michael Smith

Tournament Rules
* All matches are the best of nine legs.
* The player listed on the left of the fixture will throw first in odd-numbered legs.
* Two Points awarded for a win.
* Should players finish level on Points, the Leg Difference will be used to decide positions. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between two players, then the winner of the game between the two players will determine who finishes higher. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between three players, the Overall Average of each player (across the three games on the night) will be used to determine who finishes higher.

ENDS

Home Tour 9 -12: The Asp & Bullyboy To Join The Action.

Premier League stars Michael Smith and Nathan Aspinall are amongst the next 16 players set to take part in the Unibet Home Tour, with the line-ups and fixtures confirmed for Groups Nine to 12.

Will Bullyboy buck the trend, many top names have struggled with the home format.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

Former World Championship runner-up Smith will headline Saturday night’s Group Nine action, while former UK Open champion Aspinall will compete in Group Ten on Sunday as the home-broadcast event continues.

PDC Home Tour

Saturday will see the ninth of 32 consecutive nights of live PDC action take place, as Smith takes on Dutch PDC newcomer Martijn Kleermaker in the opening game of Group Nine.

2019 Players Championship event winner Harry Ward and experienced competitor Matt Clark will also be in the hunt to win Group Nine.

Sunday’s Group Ten will begin with a contest between Aspinall and former ProTour event winner Steve Brown, before Ryan Joyce and Simon Stevenson enter the fray.

Popular Australian Simon Whitlock will make his Home Tour debut in Monday’s Group 11, taking on Dutch youngster Mike van Duivenbode in his opener.

Another former World Championship runner-up, Kirk Shepherd, will also be in action, along with former UK Open semi-finalist Alan Tabern.

Dialling in from Germany, Max Hopp is the top ranked player in Group 12, with the former European Tour event winner set to take on in-form Belgian Mike De Decker in his opening match on a night featuring two former World Youth Champions.

Taking a well-earned break from his duties as a key worker in an NHS laboratory, Keegan Brown will join the live broadcast from the Isle of Wight, while Conan Whitehead completes the Group 12 line-up.

The nightly league format will see all four competitors play each other once in matches played over the best of nine legs, with a winner crowned each night.

The opening six nights of Home Tour action have seen a fast-paced, unpredictable start to the innovative new tournament, with Luke Woodhouse’s sensational nine-dart leg from his kitchen on Saturday night the highlight so far.

With each night’s action commencing at 1930 BST, darts commentator Dan Dawson will be on hand to talk through proceedings, which will also include live score graphics on screen.

All Home Tour action will be broadcast live on PDCTV for FREE to ALL registered PDCTV users, regardless of whether you have a paid or free membership.

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Fans in Great Britain and Ireland can also watch the action through the Sky Sports app.

As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour is being broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners.

Unibet Home Tour
Group Nine Fixtures
Saturday April 25

Michael Smith v Martijn Kleermaker
Harry Ward v Matt Clark
Martijn Kleermaker v Matt Clark
Michael Smith v Harry Ward
Harry Ward v Martijn Kleermaker
Matt Clark v Michael Smith
 
Group Ten Fixtures
Sunday April 26

Nathan Aspinall v Steve Brown
Ryan Joyce v Simon Stevenson
Steve Brown v Simon Stevenson
Nathan Aspinall v Ryan Joyce
Ryan Joyce v Steve Brown
Simon Stevenson v Nathan Aspinall

Group 11 Fixtures
Monday April 27

Simon Whitlock v Mike van Duivenbode
Kirk Shepherd v Alan Tabern
Mike van Duivenbode v Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock v Kirk Shepherd
Kirk Shepherd v Mike van Duivenbode
Alan Tabern v Simon Whitlock

Group 12 Fixtures
Tuesday April 28

Max Hopp v Mike De Decker
Keegan Brown v Conan Whitehead
Mike De Decker v Conan Whitehead
Max Hopp v Keegan Brown
Keegan Brown v Mike De Decker
Conan Whitehead v Max Hopp

Tournament Rules
* All matches are the best of nine legs.
* The player listed on the left of the fixture will throw first in odd-numbered legs.
* Two Points awarded for a win.
* Should players finish level on Points, the Leg Difference will be used to decide positions. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between two players, then the winner of the game between the two players will determine who finishes higher. Should Points and Leg Difference be equal between three players, the Overall Average of each player (across the three games on the night) will be used to determine who finishes higher.

Drill of the Day – BullShift!

A new Drill from ‘Coach’ and our friends at A.I.M: This time we’re looking to improve your BullShifting.

John Lowe: A master exponent
of BullShifting? (pic: J Lowe)

By now you should have got stuck into the selection of tips, drills and games that Darts World, and friends, have served up So its time for a few more. Today’s offering is BullShift, (Careful! We know what your thinking) we’ll let ‘Coach’ tell you more:

There are several situations during a leg where a dart at the bullseye can be very useful indeed. Whether its ensuring your end up on a two darter, instead of a three, or to ensure you have a finish at all, its basically a cover shot with two possible outcomes, this is BullShifting.

Match Example:

If you are on 201 and your opponent is not on a score where adding pressure might be relevant and you hit t20 s20, with darts one and two, this leaves you with 121 remaining and a single dart. A dart in either the 25 or Bullseye ,(a BullShift) will leave you with a handy two darter (either 96 or 71) whereas a single twenty or a stray (caused by a deflection, obviously!) will likely leave you with a tricky three darter including more complex treble possibilities.

MVG is a fluent and regular BullShifter!

In addition there are many other situation where two at the twenties and one at the bull/outer will be required. These may include shots at 170, 130 to finish or 90, 105, 130, 145 or even 170 to set up a finish.

So its important to be be a bit of a BullShifter with your last dart!

Game Overview:

Although I like most drills to be based around five turns this one has to involve at least 6.

For each turn you will take two darts at the twenties and one dart at the Bullseye ring.

There are six possible outcomes if you hit the twenty bed twice & BullShift: 170, 145, 130, 105, 90 and 65. Each time you hit a score it is removed from scoring. As an incentive, and to give every throw mean, the Bullseye counts as 50, if hit with the last dart (LDB), even if you have repeated a score or not hit two in the twenty bed.

Perfect Example:

  • Turn 1: T20 T20 Bull – 170
  • Turn 2: T20 T20 25 – 145
  • Turn 3: T20 s20 Bull – 130
  • Turn 4: T20 s20 25 – 105
  • Turn: s20 s20 Bull – 90
  • Turn 6: s20 s20 25 – 65
  • Total – 705!

Realistic Run Through:

  • Turn 1: s5 T20 25 – 0
  • Turn 2: s20 s20 25 – 65
  • Turn 3: t20 s20 25 – 105
  • Turn 4: s20 t5 Bull – 50
  • Turn 5: s20 t20 Bull – 50 (repeat score)
  • Turn 6: s20 s20 Bull – 90
  • Total: 360

Variations:

You can vary this drill a number of ways. But beware of driving yourself into a fit of frustration.

I suspect Bully Boy would be superb at BullShifting!
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG

A tough variation is to list the possible numbers on the marking board, 65-170 inc and then give yourself a set number of throws to knock them all out. Example: use 10 turns and mark how many 65’s, 90’s etc that you clock. But also mark how many times you miss the twenty bed with either of your first two and how many last dart bulls (LDBs) you manage!

Levels:

As you can see from the variations you can set your own level and then simply try to better your best. Total score after 6 turns, number of finishes hit after 10 turns etc. But here is a guide:

  • Amateur: 1 lower BullShift (65 or 90) and an LDB. 115 to 140
  • Pub Team: 1or 2 BullShifts and an LDB. 115 to 220
  • Higher: 2 or more BullShifts and an LDB. 250 or more
  • Elite: 3 or more Bullshifts and a LDB. 400+ (often!)

Records:

Who is the biggest BullShifter?

Top Score: 665 (145,130,65,170,0,50,105)

Fewest Turns: All six BullShifts were taken out in only 11 turns by a player who has flirted with the PDC top 32 but flew a little too close to the sun.

Enjoy Bullshift and let us know how you get on below or via @Darts_World

Check out some other Drill of the Days


Thanks to ‘Coach’ & AIM: @aim180ltd

Ones to Watch – The Surge! Too Hotty To Handle?

Today’s ‘One to Watch’ is a sprint rather than a marathon. Darts World’s ‘Resident Coach’ often refers to destructive darts. He also (repeatedly), states that outlasting, or surviving, ‘The Surge‘ and retaining your own composure is the key to many a famous win.

A fantastic example of ‘The Surge‘ was produced by Scott Waites during his group match against Adrian Lewis in 2010. It is one of the most destructive starts, to a high profile game, you will ever see:

Scott Waites demonstrates ‘The Surge’

Coach’s Comments:

It is clear that Scott has decided to pour his focus into this match. Pay attention, to his body language, and manner, during the ‘warm-up’ phase. Adrian is doing his usual relaxed, laughing and joking, routine, whilst Scott looks as if he is psyching himself up to burst from the gates!

Too-Hotty then reals off three big finishes. The 161 in leg two is the important, but the third a 137 finished on d10 is utterly destructive. Although the commentators concentrate on the back-to-back twelve dart legs, Lewis is denied three clear darts at 18, which he surely would have hit. This completed the most often seen example of ‘The Surge’. Three quick legs involving a Hold-Break-Hold (HBH) pattern.

From this point on you can see, despite his, Bristow/Taylor like, bravado, Jackpot’s resistance crumbling.

Scott eases the intensity off, a little, at the end of leg three a smile to the crowd, a shake of the head and a drink of water. Following the HBH simply sharing the next two, on throw, gives the ‘Surger’ 4 out of 5 legs. Although, Waites lost leg four, it was clear that Adrian was trying, much too hard, and as a result, all his natural weapons were not helping.

Returning after the break Waites could afford to stay within himself and force Lewis to find more. Thus the four, from five, are secured and Too Hotty moves 4-1 up, in the first too five. Although Scott falls for trying, too hard, to wrap it up quickly, the cushion he has earned from one of the best timed destructive spells, ensures he is able to survive a mini Lewis comeback and close out the match. He went on to win the event!

Some players seem naturally able too surge at the right time. This ability both enables faster wins, due to fewer legs played and easier ones due to lack of resistance.

MVG ‘s record setting Premier League game against Micheal Smith is another superb example. Smith is reduced to being a practice partner and not a very good one.

Had Jackpot retained more of his own game earlier who knows? Next time we will look at how to survive such an onslaught!


Durrant Tops Premier League Table

Glenn Durrant has returned to the top of the table, after the latest rubber of matches in the Unibet Premier League, with Micheal Smith closing in behind him. Both players are tied on seven points but Duzza leads on leg difference. The top four places are rounded out by MVG and Nathan Aspinall.

League Table

Following Night FivePWDL+/-LWATPts
Glen Durrant5311+9117
Michael Smith5311+7107
Michael van Gerwen5302+6116
Nathan Aspinall5302+296
Gerwyn Price5131+295
Gary Anderson5212-185
Peter Wright5212-275
Rob Cross5122-2124
Daryl Gurney5023-1062

Daryl Gurney looks in serious trouble, and may well be the first to be eliminated, while Price. Anderson and Wright need to string a few wins together in order to avoid being eliminated.

ENDS

Premier League Night Five – Humphries Makes History as Smith Squashes MVG

Luke Humphries created history as the first Challenger to win in the Unibet Premier League in Exeter on Thursday as Peter Wright reignited his season and Michael Smith defeated Michael van Gerwen.

Humphries became the first guest player to claim victory in the Premier league.
(PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG) LUKE HUMPHRIES-YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR

World Youth Champion Humphries claimed a 7-5 win over Gary Anderson to celebrate his one-off appearance in this year’s event with a memorable victory on Night Five at Westpoint Exeter.

The Newbury ace had drawn with Gerwyn Price when he played in Exeter last year – ironically after Anderson’s withdrawal with a back problem created the concept which gave him a big-stage opportunity.

This time he held his nerve in a dramatic conclusion to a tight contest as he denied Anderson, who missed six darts in the deciding leg to claim a draw from the match.

Anderson came from two legs down to lead 3-2 early on, and the Scot traded 14-darters with Humphries as he established a 5-4 advantage over the youngster.

Humphries finished 100 with two double tops to level in leg ten, before capitalising on three misses from his opponent to break and move 6-5 up, and landed double one to edge the win in a thrilling ending to the game.

“It feels really good,” said Humphries. “It’s a little bit bittersweet because I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but it was exciting for the fans to watch and sometimes you have to win the scrappy games.

“The final leg was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I knew I had the chance to be the first Challenger to win, and luckily Gary missed a few doubles there at the end and I got the double one.

“I felt like I had a point to prove tonight and I’m just happy to walk off the winner. I believe I can get into the Premier League one day but it’s going to take time.”

UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2020 WESTPOINT ARENA, EXETER, PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG PETER WRIGHT V NATHAN ASPINALL PETER WRIGHT IN ACTION

Wright posted the highest average so far in the 2020 season of 110.00 in his brilliant 7-3 win over Nathan Aspinall.

The World Champion bounced back from last week’s 7-1 loss to Gerwyn Price in Dublin in style with a relentless display to claim his second victory of the season in style.

Aspinall played his part, but was never able to pull back level after Wright opened up a 3-1 advantage before pulling clear from 4-3 to complete the win.

“This was a lot better than last week and I got the win, which was what mattered the most,” said Wright. “I’m really happy with the performance but I still feel there’s more to come.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game because of how well Nathan’s been playing. He had a nine-darter against me the last time we played so I was very nervous tonight.

“I still missed too many doubles and need to brush up on that.”

World number one Van Gerwen, meanwhile, suffered his second defeat of the season as Smith produced a memorable performance in a 7-4 victory to claim a third successive win.

UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2020 WESTPOINT ARENA, EXETER, PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V MICHAEL SMITH MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

Smith had defeated the Dutchman in last weekend’s Belgian Darts Championship, and stormed into a 5-1 lead with finishes of 96 and 134, maintaining an average of 108.

He also won leg seven to secure a minimum of a point, with Van Gerwen taking the next three with legs of 12, 13 and 13 darts only for Smith to finally get over the winning line on double eight.

“It’s a good win and I’m happy,” said Smith. “It’s weird to come off against Michael and be disappointed that I didn’t win by more legs, but I’m glad I got the win.

“His average was better than mine but I was quite strong on my throw and luckily enough I fell over the line. It’s a big thing to beat Michael and it’s hard when you’re throwing at those winning doubles.

“He’s still the best player in the world and it feels good, but he’s not at his best at the moment. I’m in a good place, though, and long may it continue.”

Smith now sits in second place in the league table on leg difference behind Glen Durrant, who claimed his third win of the season with a superb 7-3 win over Gerwyn Price.

Durrant won the opening four legs in a sensational start, before Price took two of the next three to hit back to 5-2.

Durrant, though, finished 46 to secure at least a point and ended Price’s hopes of a fightback by sealing victory with a brilliant 129 checkout, inflicting a first loss of the season on the Welshman.

“This is one of my biggest wins and I’m so happy,” said Durrant. “Gerwyn’s been on a 13-match unbeaten run and nobody gave me a chance, and that was the fire in the belly that I needed.

“There are eight of the best players in the world in that practice room and me, and I’ve got to stop admiring everybody else and realise my own potential.

“My combination finishing right now is as good as anybody’s. I want to play the whole 16 weeks and I’m having the best time in the world at the moment in the Premier League.”

Rob Cross and Daryl Gurney shared the points in the night’s opening tie in Exeter, with the 2019 Premier League finalist hitting back from 3-0 down to move onto four league points, two ahead of the Northern Irish ace.

Gurney – bidding to move away from the foot of the table – took the first three legs without reply in a strong start, finishing 88 and 74 along the way.

Cross won the next four, with Gurney then moving 5-4 up only to see the Hastings thrower secure at least a point at 6-5, but it was the Northern Irishman who took the deciding leg on double ten to snatch a draw.

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the draw and it wasn’t what I wanted, but I’ll take it,” admitted Cross. “You can’t give people a 3-0 lead and the slow starts have been the story of my season so far.

“I got back into the game well. It’s a work in progress because I’ve made changes to my life and maybe I’m a bit less confident than I should be, but if I can get a few results that will change.

“I’m enjoying it and I love the Premier League. I’m playing well in practice and I want to start taking it up on stage now.”

Following this weekend’s Ladbrokes UK Open, the Unibet Premier League season will resume on Thursday March 12 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, where St Helens’ Stephen Bunting steps in as a Challenger against Rob Cross.

The ties in Liverpool will also see Durrant take on Gurney, Smith meet World Champion Wright, Van Gerwen take on Price and Anderson play Aspinall. For tickets, visit mandsbankarena.com.

2020 Unibet Premier League

Night Five

Thursday March 5, Westpoint Exeter

  • Rob Cross 6-6 Daryl Gurney
  • Gerwyn Price 3-7 Glen Durrant
  • Nathan Aspinall 3-7 Peter Wright
  • Gary Anderson 5-7 Luke Humphries
  • Michael Smith 7-4 Michael van Gerwen

You Bet! Premier League Odds.

The odds, for the latest evening of Premier League action, are being offered by event sponsor Unibet. The best value looks to be the 4/1 offered for Micheal Smith to defeat MVG.

Smith celebrates 9 Dart leg.
Pic: PDC/L Lustig

Smith’s recent form, including a victory over the World No.1, and his 9-Dart leg during night three suggest a closer game than the odds reflect.

Unibet Premier League
Night Five Match Odds
6/5 
Rob Cross – Draw 16/5 – Daryl Gurney17/10
4/5 
Gerwyn Price – Draw 17/5– Glen Durrant 5/2
13/8 
Nathan Aspinall – Draw16/5 – Peter Wright5/4
4/5 
Gary Anderson – Draw 17/5 – Luke Humphries 5/2
4/1 
Michael Smith – Draw 4/1 – Michael van Gerwen1/2

Unibet Premier League Outright Odds
Michael van Gerwen Evens
Peter Wright 5/1
Gerwyn Price 11/2
Gary Anderson 9/1
Nathan Aspinall 9/1
Michael Smith 12/1
Glen Durrant 22/1
Rob Cross 22/1
Daryl Gurney 100/1
EW 1/3 1-2

Odds courtesy unibet.co.uk and correct at time of publication.

League Table

Following Night FourPWDL+/-LWATPts
Michael van Gerwen4301+9106
Nathan Aspinall4301+696
Gerwyn Price4130+695
Glen Durrant4211+595
Michael Smith4211+485
Gary Anderson4211+175
Rob Cross4112-293
Peter Wright4112-653
Daryl Gurney4013-1031


ENDS

Price Storms to Belgian Title – Welshman Bests Smith in Hasselt.

Gerwyn Price became the inaugural winner of the Belgian Darts Championship in Hasselt on Sunday, defeating Michael Smith 8-3 in the final.

The Iceman moves to the final.
Sven Neuschaefer/PDC Europe

In-form Price averaged over 100 in three of his five matches across two days at Expo Hasselt, as the Welsh number one claimed his third European Tour title on St David’s Day.

With the final level at 2-2, world number three Price won five consecutive legs to take full control of the contest before hitting his favourite double top to land his 11th PDC ranking title and the £25,000 top prize.

The only undefeated player in the 2020 Premier League, Price is now also the only player with two PDC ranking titles to his name for the year.

“The crowd were fantastic all weekend, I appreciate everything from them,” said Price, who won his first title of 2020 seven days earlier.

“I think my checkouts this weekend kept me in the games.

“I hit some big shots when I needed them most to change the way some games were going.

“I think I played pretty well all the way through the tournament and hopefully I can keep this form going into the Premier League and UK Open next week.”

Sunday saw the £140,000 event reach its climax, with the last 16 taking place in the afternoon session, followed by the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the evening.

Having whitewashed Jamie Hughes with a 105.93 average in the last 16, Price then defeated Mensur Suljovic 6-2 before recovering from 3-0 down to overcome Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-4.

Improving Dutchman Van Duijvenbode engaged and entertained the Belgian crowd throughout the weekend as a string of sparking displays saw him reach his first European Tour semi-final.

Meanwhile, Michael van Gerwen’s wait for a first PDC title of 2020 goes on after he lost a deciding leg to Smith in the last 16.

The European Tour will return with the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen, Germany across the weekend of March 20-22, with all the action shown on PDCTV.

Sunday March 1
Afternoon Session
Third Round
Michael Smith 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Mervyn King 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Peter Wright 6-3 Danny Noppert
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Rob Cross
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 James Wade
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Jamie Hughes
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Steve West

Evening Session
Quarter-Finals
Michael Smith 6-1 Mervyn King
Peter Wright 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Nathan Aspinall 
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Mensur Suljovic

Semi-Finals
Michael Smith 7-5 Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price 7-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode

Final
Gerwyn Price 8-3 Michael Smith

ENDS

Belgian Championship Review – Day Two, Smith Marches On.

Michael van Gerwen will meet Michael Smith in the last 16 of the 2020 Belgian Darts Championship, as host nation hopes were ended in Hasselt on Saturday.

Micheal Smith still going strong after a superb week.
Pic: L Lustig/PDC

Both Van Gerwen and Smith saw off Belgian opponents to set up Sunday afternoon’s exciting opening third round match.

World number one van Gerwen missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the final leg of his 6-3 victory over Mike De Decker, while Smith enjoyed a 6-1 win against Ronny Huybrechts.

Belgian number one Dimitri Van Den Bergh came the closest out of his countrymen to reaching the final day but lost out 6-5 to Jamie Hughes, while Kim Huybrechts was beaten 6-4 by Dutch ace Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Danny Noppert continued his recent performances.


Danny Noppert produced the performance of the second round as he averaged 108.96 in a 6-2 success over fellow Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena. 

Noppert hit five 180s in an outstanding display to reach the last 16, where he will meet World Champion Peter Wright.

Wright was below his best but was untroubled by Andy Hamilton as the Scotsman went on to complete a comfortable 6-2 win. 

Noppert’s fellow Dutch talents Dirk van Duijvenbode and Martijn Kleermaker also progressed to the final day with victories against seeded opposition. 

Van Duijvenbode moved into the last 16 of a European Tour event for the first time after defeating number two seed Ian White 6-3, while Kleermaker reached the third round stage on his first attempt with a 6-3 success over Joe Cullen. 

Kleermaker’s last 16 opponent will be Mervyn King, who produced a stunning performance to defeat number eight seed Glen Durrant 6-4 with an average of 105.98.

Mensur Suljovic defeated Ryan Searle 6-4 in an entertaining encounter, which saw the pair share four three-figure finishes – including checkouts of 170 and 145 by Searle despite defeat. 

Steve West will face Suljovic on Sunday after defying a 104.14 average from Jonny Clayton in a 6-2 success over the Welshman. 

Gerwyn Price made light work of Dutch qualifier Wesley Plaisier, who completed a fabulous 154 checkout in the only leg he won against the world number three. 

Polish star Krzysztof Ratajski kicked off his 2020 European Tour campaign with a 6-2 triumph over Germany’s Gabriel Clemens.

Ratajski will take on Rob Cross in round three after the 2019 European Champion eased past Australia’s Damon Heta 6-1.

James Wade defeated Steve Lennon 6-3 to set up a third round clash with Nathan Aspinall, who produced a pivotal 167 checkout in a 6-3 victory over Steve Beaton.  

The Belgian Darts Championship concludes with two sessions on Sunday March 1, with live streaming on PDCTV, as well as through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

Sunday afternoon will see the remaining 16 players battle it out for places in the evening session, which hosts the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final -where the winner will earn £25,000. 

Click here to sign-up for a £2.99 PDCTV weekend pass.

2020 Belgian Darts Championship
Saturday February 29
Second Round
Afternoon Session
Michael Smith 6-1 Ronny Huybrechts
Martijn Kleermaker 6-3 Joe Cullen
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Mervyn King 6-4 Glen Durrant
Rob Cross 6-1 Damon Heta
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Ian White
Danny Noppert 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
James Wade 6-3 Steve Lennon

Evening Session 
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Steve Beaton
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Wesley Plaisier
Peter Wright 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Mike De Decker
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Jamie Hughes 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Ryan Searle
Steve West 6-2 Jonny Clayton